“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”
– President Bill Clinton
As Sam Bennett has learned since being recruited to run for Mayor of Allentown in 2001 making mistakes and being attacked by your political opponents is to be expected. It how you respond that matters – critically important to retain the trust of those you are seeking to serve.
As the campaign for Mayor of Allentown 2017 unfolds and other concerns arise, we’ll make sure, in addition to other avenues of response, to update this FAQ page for the public.
When Sam Bennett ran for U.S. Congress in 2008, incumbent Dent chose to attack Sam through the highly successful Properties of Merit funded by Governor Rendell and PA DCED to go statewide. Bottom line? When the dust settled, the press agreed that there was no wrong doing: “consultant finds nonprofit made a ‘good faith effort’ to set an appropriate salary.”
Unfortunately, the press never corrected two important points:
Dent supporters put this clip on YouTube in 2008 when Sam ran against him for U.S. Congress. Late in the evening in the 2001 Allentown Mayor Race, it was too close to call – and she was thanking her supporters for all their hard work. The next day we learned Sam had lost to Roy Afflerbach by only 46 votes. The concern was that she should have been more gracious to her opponent – and Sam agreed. It was a mistake she never repeated again. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgment.
Sam was recruited to run by both Republicans and Democrats in 2001 because of her deep commitment to change making in Allentown. Not the other way around.
Like most American women (the U.S. ranked 84th in the world in the number of women in elected office, behind Cuba and Afghanistan) running for office was the last thing on her mind. Sam only ran for office because of her deep respect for those individuals who recruited her to run from both sides of the aisle.
Non-profit change making – from organizations Sam has created like The William Allen Construction Company, co-founded with Lee Butz to those Sam had the honor to lead, like Women’s Campaign Fund in Washington, DC – is the way most women are comfortable making the world around them a better place. Politics much less so.
But Sam came to respect the powerful positive difference women can make when they serve in elected office – and made it a goal to never give up, always keep learning so that she would be ready for the next time Sam could run for Mayor of her city, where she knew she could make a positive difference.
That is why Sam never closed my Friends of Siobhan “Sam” Bennett campaign account and kept it open for fifteen years. Despite her national work in that Presidential race prevented her from entering the race until four months before that primary – it is why Sam ran for Mayor again 2005. Leaving her national CEO position in Washington, DC. – it is why Sam is running for Mayor again in 2017.
“I have known Siobhan "Sam" Bennett for nearly two decades and have found her to be intelligent, honest and well organized with an outgoing engaging personality. In the many years that I worked with Sam in the Allentown City and Lehigh County Democratic Committees I have found her to be an encouraging and artful leader with incredible political and personal instincts and skills. Sam is a person who is truly dedicated to her community and to her family.
Back in the early 2000's my daughter, Rachel told me about the extraordinary person who was mentoring Rachel and some of her friends in organizing and operating the student led "William Allen Construction Company," which was responsible for some major renovations including the Auditorium at William Allen High School. These renovations cost the taxpayer nothing and made major improvements to William Allen High School.
Rachel, who is now a successful Attorney, credits Sam for helping her to develop many skills such as Grant Writing, Public Speaking, as well as Public Relations and Marketing, which have served Rachel well in her Attorney positions. Sam also gave Rachel her first "Real Job" working for Sam's Non Profit, "Properties of Merit," a local beautification project that Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell pushed to be funded statewide. Rachel was also a trusted member of Sam's team when Sam ran for office.
As a member of "The Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society" Performing Group I had a chance to witness Sam Bennett in action on the grounds of Cedar Beach back during the "Mayfair Festival Of the Arts" when Sam was the Mayfair Executive Director for 2 years. Sam was traveling all over the Cedar Beach area during the Music Festival personally making sure that every performer had what they needed, whether it was sound equipment or water.
Sam also has experience working in Washington where she was the National CEO for 5 years of the "Women's Campaign Fund," the Nations oldest organization financially supporting women running for office. While working in Washington Sam also became a regular contributor for Fox News, MSNBC and PBS, where she often appeared on shows such as Megyn Kelley's, Chris Matthews Hardball and others.
A look at Sam's website, www.sambennett.info can give Allentown voters a look at Sam's outstanding background and lifetime accomplishments.
In my opinion if Sam Bennett becomes the Democratic Mayoral Candidate and later on the Mayor of Allentown, I believe we will all breathe a sigh of relief as the dark cloud that hangs over the Allentown Mayor's Office is lifted and is replaced by a dynamic new Breath of Fresh Air.
Jerry Gallagher - Allentown City Democratic Committeeman and Lehigh County Democratic Committeeman”
— Jerry Gallagher